NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 14th (All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (14-12-3) at Vancouver Canucks (16-11-3), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The suddenly hot Florida Panthers will aim for their fourth consecutive victory when they visit the Vancouver Canucks for tonight's matchup at General Motors Place.
In addition to winning three straight games, the Panthers have also recorded at least a point in their last seven outings, going 6-0-1 in that stretch. Florida now has 31 points on the season and is tied for second place in the Southeast Division with Carolina.
Florida's current winning streak has come at the start of a five-game road trip, which will end Thursday at Carolina. The Panthers improved to 3-0 on the swing with Friday's close victory in Calgary.
Stephen Weiss tallied the game-winning goal for the third consecutive contest, this time in the shootout, and the Panthers took a 3-2 victory over the Flames for Florida's first win in Calgary in over nine years.
The Panthers last beat the Flames in Calgary on November 6, 1999, and they hadn't beaten them home or away since November 9, 2002, snapping a three-game slide against the Flames.
Weiss, the third shooter for Florida after all three Calgary shooters had missed, tucked a backhand shot between Miikka Kiprusoff's legs for the game- winner. Weiss also tallied the first goal in Florida's 2-0 win over Edmonton Thursday and gave the Panthers a 4-3 overtime win over Ottawa on Monday with a goal with 9.1 seconds left in the extra session.
Kamil Kreps and Jay Bouwmeester tallied in regulation for the Panthers, who have won five straight road games and are 8-8-1 as the visiting club this season.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 35-of-37 shots as he gave Craig Anderson a night off. Vokoun made his first start since November 26, but Anderson, who has grabbed the No. 1 job away from his teammate for the time being, is expected to be back between the pipes tonight.
Meanwhile, the Canucks were shut out in Edmonton on Saturday night, giving them losses in six of their last eight contests. Despite the slide Vancouver is still tied with Calgary for the lead in the Northwest Division with 35 points.
The Oilers posted a 3-0 victory over the visiting Canucks on Saturday as Dwayne Roloson stopped 23 shots for his 23rd career shutout.
Rob Davison had a team-high four shots on goal for the Canucks. Curtis Sanford allowed three goals on 29 shots in his first-ever regulation loss to the Oilers (5-1-1).
The game marked the end of Vancouver's longest road trip of the season. The Canucks went 2-4-1 on the seven-game swing and are now at the start of a four- game homestand. Vancouver is 7-3-1 at GM Place this year.
In injury news, the Canucks were disappointed to hear that franchise goaltender and team captain Roberto Luongo suffered a setback in his attempt to return from a groin injury. It was originally believed that Luongo, who hasn't played since November 22, could return sometime this weekend, but he left practice on Wednesday after experiencing soreness and is still considered to be out indefinitely.
Florida beat the visiting Canucks on February 1 to end a seven-game winless stretch against Vancouver. However, the Panthers have only won once in Vancouver and that came on March 7, 1994 during Florida's first year in the league.
12/14 10:44:54 ET